Whistling Past The Graveyard

One of the more common idioms in the US is this phrase. The etymology seems to trace this practice back to the middle ages where the villages were commonly a day’s travel apart. With cemeteries at edge of town, the spirits of the dead would come out at dusk and haunt travelers. The people believed loud noises/sounds kept spirits away, so tinkers and other tradesmen would bang their pots & pans, other people would whistle or shout loudly, thus hoping to keep the spirits away until one was past the graveyard.

Now that we are less inclined to worry about graveyards, to “whistle past the graveyard” has become a phrase to describe an attempt to distract oneself from impending doom by busying yourself with distraction…to ignore the risk in hopes that it just won’t happen and there will be a positive outcome, that you will make it past the graveyard without being accosted by any of the assortment of ghouls, ghosts and undead who may lay in wait.

In a post that I just ran across, the author Michelle Washington of The Virginian-Pilot asks this:

How can we change it if we don’t know about it? How can we make it better if we look away?

Are we really no better than this?

What is she talking about?


Wave after wave of young men surged forward to take turns punching and kicking their victim.

The victim’s friend, a young woman, tried to pull him back into his car. Attackers came after her, pulling her hair, punching her head and causing a bloody scratch to the surface of her eye. She called 911. A recording told her all lines were busy. She called again. Busy. On her third try, she got through and, hysterical, could scream only their location.

Church and Brambleton. Church and Brambleton. Church and Brambleton.

It happened four blocks from where they work, here at The Virginian-Pilot.

Two weeks have passed since reporters Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami – friends to me and many others at the newspaper – were attacked on a Saturday night as they drove home from a show at the Attucks Theatre. They had stopped at a red light, in a crowd of at least 100 young people walking on the sidewalk. Rostami locked her car door. Someone threw a rock at her window. Forster got out to confront the rock-thrower, and that’s when the beating began.

And just who were these mysterious assailants?

Forster and Rostami, both white, suffered a beating at the hands of a crowd of black teenagers.

Not just a crowd of black teenagers, a crowd of 100 black teenagers.

The next day, Forster searched Twitter for mention of the attack.

One post chilled him.

“I feel for the white man who got beat up at the light,” wrote one person.

“I don’t,” wrote another, indicating laughter. “(do it for trayvon martin)”

Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen, died after being shot by a community watch captain with white and Hispanic parents, George Zimmerman, in Florida.

This didn’t start out to be a post about race and racism. It was a post about how “progressives” revel in an alternative reality where they can construct memes that agree with their worldview, no matter how untrue they are – but there is no better illustration than this with regard to the fruits of such dishonesty.

Michelle Washington is right:

How can we change it if we don’t know about it? How can we make it better if we look away?

Are we really no better than this?

Apparently we aren’t…except those of us willing to raise this issue, an issue sure to get us branded as racists and bigots. I think that it is telling that even in this report, the fact that the crowd of teens was made up of blacks was not even revealed until the end of the post. Even Ms. Williams noted the attempts to wash the incident down the memory hole:

Forster and Rostami’s story has not, until today, appeared in this paper. The responding officer coded the incident as a simple assault, despite their assertions that at least 30 people had participated in the attack. A reporter making routine checks of police reports would see “simple assault” and, if the names were unfamiliar, would be unlikely to write about it. In this case, editors hesitated to assign a story about their own employees. Would it seem like the paper treated its employees differently from other crime victims?

More questions loomed.

Forster and Rostami wondered if the officer who answered their call treated all crime victims the same way. When Rostami, who admits she was hysterical, tried to describe what had happened, she says the officer told her to shut up and get in the car. Both said the officer did not record any names of witnesses who stopped to help. Rostami said the officer told them the attackers were “probably juveniles anyway. What are we going to do? Find their parents and tell them?”

The officer pointed to public housing in the area and said large groups of teenagers look for trouble on the weekends. “It’s what they do,” he told Forster.

Could that be true? Could violent mobs of teens be so commonplace in Norfolk that police and victims have no recourse?

Police spokesman Chris Amos said officers often respond to reports of crowds fighting; sirens are usually enough to disperse the group. On that night, he said, a report of gunfire in a nearby neighborhood prompted the officer to decide getting Forster and Rostami off the street quickly made more sense than remaining at the intersection. The officer gave them his card and told them to call later to file a report

Just where are the President, Eric Holder and their retinue of racists on this one? I guess the white Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami just don’t look like the children that Obama has or would have.

One thought on “Whistling Past The Graveyard


    progressive believe you can affect change through language. This is why they believe – sincerely believe – they can hide behind a change in labels (you will think they are now something new, different) and why they think they can make things different by changing what we call it (no more bullying handicapped by calling them ‘challenged’).

    This is part of the unconstrained view of human nature. They truly believe they can consciously direct the evolution of man’s nature, and that one of the best tools for doing so is language (did you REALLY pay attention to the use of language in “1984?”)

    This post is connected to it: don’t talk about it; then it doesn’t exist. YES! They believe that. Say something exists when it doesn’t; then it exists.

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